The logistics of Ndotto’s rescue was more like a nightmare than the “dream” of which his name implies. Through a series of communications the rescue began. Beginning with a tribesman’s hours long trek down Ndotto’s namesake mountain, through a Milgis Trust “community ranger,” through that “grassroots conservation organization’s” founder Helen Douglas-Dufresne to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
All the while a Milgis Trust ranger climbed back up that mountain (though “beautiful,” this range of mountains offers the Samburu “no access to any form of communication, transport, roads, or even electricity”) to “take the calf into his care;” guiding little Ndotto inside the “boma (homestead),” wrapping him in multiple blankets to warm him and supervising his feedings of “rehydration salts”. This would have to satisfy until the newborn elephant was transported and nourished with the “special milk formula” which would be prepared for him by his new carers at the DSWT the following morning.
Alerted to the “GPS coordinates of the baby’s location” the pilot of Tropic Air, a charter hired by DSWT, landed at Suruan and the “rescue team” rushed to secure the newborn Ndotto. The first thing they noticed was just how tiny the baby elephant was. He was just so fragile yet he walked out on his own from the safety of the “boma” ready to experience his first helicopter flight. After a weather related delay they were off to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, little Ndotto’s new home.
Upon arrival at the baby elephant orphanage, the DSWT keepers spotted a small “red bundle” being gently carried toward them. Inspecting their new charge, they estimated he couldn’t possibly weigh more than 88 pounds. He had to be a preemie. As soon as humanly possible little Ndotto was “fed a fresh mixture of milk formula” which he accepted gratefully and with a mighty hunger. He was then “put on a lifesaving drip”.
While he turned out to be the “smallest elephant ever to come into their care” at the orphanage, he more than made up for it with his personality. And while it was touch & go after his arrival at the Nairobi Nursery, and his four elephant molars took their time in coming through, (due to his premature birth) he continues to astonish his keepers with the miracle that is his story.
It may not have been the story his elephant heritage would have shaped for him. But as Ndotto never had a chance to even know or remember his mama or his own elephant family he readily accepted what life handed him. And as he is now secure in his new home, surrounded by those who love him and care for him and by his new elephant family, he may just be the happiest and luckiest little elephant yet.
For information on how to Adopt Ndotto see his orphan profile at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
See also: #ndotto on Twitter
VIDEOS: dswtkenya YouTube Ndotto’s Arrival
dswtkenya YouTube Ndotto One Week After
Creative Commons You Tube Video (translated: Title: “We Visited Ndotto” Description: “We have Ndotto , an elephant orphan adopted and visited in Kenya . You can also do something good and also adopt an elephant”
credit: public domain drawing of baby elephant